United Nations Global Compact Making Critical Contribution to Advancing Organization’s Agenda, Says Secretary-General in Message to Its Board

24 July 2009

United Nations Global Compact Making Critical Contribution to Advancing Organization’s Agenda, Says Secretary-General in Message to Its Board

24 July 2009
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following is the text of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the United Nations Global Compact Board members, delivered today in New York by his Deputy Chef de Cabinet, Kim Won-soo:

It is my great pleasure to send greetings to this important Board meeting.

I regret that I cannot join you in person.  Although I had long planned to attend and was looking forward to meeting with the newly constituted Board, I am instead in China discussing climate change.  I know this issue is of great concern to everyone involved in the Global Compact. With the climate change summit in New York coming up in September, and critical negotiations to follow in Copenhagen in December, I trust you understand my absence today.

I warmly welcome the newest Board members: Juan De La Mota, Charles Holliday, Cecilia Ibru, Chey Tae-won, Fernando Chico Pardo, Jean Rozwadowski and Jamshed Irani.  And I thank all of you for the time and effort you devote to the Global Compact.

The Compact is making a critical contribution to advancing the United Nations agenda.  In my many meetings with Global Compact Local Networks around the world, I have seen the benefits of engaging with the private sector.

This collaboration is all the more important as the world grapples with the global economic crisis and other challenges.  Many people have lost trust in markets and businesses.  Climate change threatens development and social progress.

The Global Compact can play a key role in finding solutions to these problems by helping to restore confidence in the private sector and facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy.  Corporate responsibility and leadership have never been so important.

That is why I am pleased to see more companies joining the initiative, and engagement in the Compact growing more serious and focused.

As members of the Compact’s Board, each of you has a unique perch from which to advance this work even further.  You can focus on a given issue, support country or regional outreach, mobilize your networks, or carry out any number of other activities to champion our initiative.

The Board is already making good progress through its working groups on human rights, labour and anti-corruption.  I was pleased to learn that a working group on the environment is being developed.

You will have to intensify your efforts as we approach the Global Compact Leaders Summit, to be held next June in New York.  The Summit will mark the tenth anniversary of the Compact, and I am counting on you to make it a great success.

I also urge you to lend your voice to the United Nations “Seal the Deal!” campaign for a fair, balanced and effective climate agreement in Copenhagen.  We are asking all Global Compact participants to support the campaign by providing CEO [Chief Executive Officer] testimonials, raising awareness and responsibly lobbying Governments.

The integrity of the Compact is another paramount concern.  I rely on the Board for guidance about ensuring the accountability of participant engagement.  The Compact is voluntary in nature, providing a forum for learning and dialogue to advance United Nations goals.  It was never meant to be a sanction-based initiative, which I understand might be a disappointment to some.  I trust you will work together to ensure that the accountability of the Compact is consistent with its mandate and resources.

You have a full agenda.  I wish you a most productive session and look forward to hearing the outcome of this meeting, which will be chaired in my absence by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart with the support of Georg Kell.  Above all, I thank you for your energetic and indispensable support as we join forces to confront and overcome the many complex challenges facing our world.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.